The main factors perceived by patients as important in selecting a pharmacy were studied for many years. Selected studies mentioned primarily factors such as location, pharmacist competence and attitude, pharmacy services and premiums, and prices. We compared the results from our study in June 2012 with the results of the most recent study conducted in April 2020 focusing on the main factors influencing the patient’s option for a specific pharmacy. Respondents were asked an open question about what is the most important factor they consider when choosing a pharmacy and then answers were grouped into main categories. The urban population has been considered for both studies. The results tell us that the factors influencing the choice of a pharmacy remained unchanged over the time: i) prices, ii) availability of medicine, iii) professionalism of the pharmacist and iv) pharmacy proximity is the most mentioned by our respondents in both studies. However, the rank between these factors changed. Prices remain the top factor while the Availability of medicine (products) has been overcome by the Professionalism of the pharmacist (Attitude of the pharmacist) and Proximity. Using the logistic regression and Odds Ratio, we tried to identify socio-demographic segments significantly associated with these factors. Persons with low income are very likely to indicate Price as the most important factor in choosing a pharmacy in 2012 (OR = 2.088, p=0.018), while respondents aged 65 years and older are more likely not to indicate Price as the most important factor compared with other age groups, in both 2012 and 2020 studies (OR = 0.4, p=0.009, respective OR= 0.325, p=0.010). For this type of respondent, 65 years old and above, the attitude of the pharmacist is the most important factor influencing their choice of a pharmacy in 2020, while products availability has been the most frequent answer for this segment back in 2012. Results in Romania are similar to the ones collected from other countries as reported by other studies. However, particularities of the local market and regulations are influencing the ranking.
Factors Influencing the Choice of a Pharmacy in Romania: Comparation between Studies Performed in 2012 and 2020
Keywords: pharmacy, patient, logistic regression, influencing, decision, medicine
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